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Sentencing Factors Must Be Considered During Defense Planning

May 26, 2017

Many people think that a criminal defense stops when a person is either found guilty or not guilty. This isn't the case. Your defense continues beyond this point because of the sentencing phase.

When you are being sentenced for any conviction, there are several things that are taken into consideration. Understanding these factors might help you plan out how you are going to handle the sentencing phase of the criminal justice process.

Criminal History

Your criminal history is one of the factors that comes into the picture during sentencing. The more extensive your criminal history, the more likely you are to face a harsher sentence than someone who doesn't have a criminal history. The court might consider your criminal history in its entirety or it might only consider the history that is related to this conviction.

Severity of Crime

The severity of the crime has a part in the sentencing phase. More serious crimes will almost always incur more serious penalties. For example, if you attack a police officer and the officer is in intensive care, your sentence would be more severe than if you slapped a friend and that friend didn't need any medical attention.

Sentencing Guidelines

Sentencing guidelines also play a part in what sentence you receive. Some convictions have mandatory minimum sentences, which means that the court has to impose at least that sentence. There is no getting around these mandatory minimums.

Now that you know some of the sentencing factors, you can use that information when you are working on your defense strategy. Make sure that you think about this long before the sentencing phase comes up.

Source: FindLaw, "Factors Considered in Determining Sentences," accessed May 26, 2017